Jimi and the Djinn
by Jason Erik Lundberg
Today the Cabal welcomes Jason Erik Lundberg, writer, publisher, teacher, and veteran creator of very short fiction. Jason brings us the following tale out of the haze of the past...
On a balmy evening in March 1967, Jimi Hendrix stepped into the British Museum. An off-night on his relentless UK tour, and needing some time to escape from his bandmates and hangers-on, he decided on culture for a change. After an hour of wandering, he came across an exhibit of Southeast Asian sculpture and pottery. He was drawn to a glass container the size of a vase, frosted and etched with runes and symbols. It pulsed gently with mesmerizing blue light, an effect he put down to the shrooms he'd been given by Pete Townshend earlier in the day. Totally alone in the gallery, and so he lifted the glass container off of its display pedestal. It was warm.
"Man, I bet I could make a righteous bong out of this thing," he said, before it jumped from his fingers and crashed to the floor, shattering into a hundred thousand shards and releasing the djinn trapped inside. The creature roiled up into a confusion of blue smoke, and roughly assembled itself into the shape of a man with glowing red eyes.
"My thanks," the djinn said, its accented voice rumbling out from the center of the smoke. "I have been imprisoned for a very long time."
"Yes, first by a Malayan witch-doctor who tapped into my power for use in her bomoh potions and thaumaturgical spells. And then by the wife of a naval captain who used me to adorn her dining table."
"Oh, hey, no problem. So do I get three wishes or something?"
"No. But I will offer you two pieces of advice."
"Lay it on me, baby."
"Be wary of your dependence on chemical entheogens."
"The LSD? Don't know about that, but we'll see. What's number two?"
"They will love you for your music, but they'll remember you for your fire."
One of the djinn's eyes closed as if in a wink, and then the cloud of smoke dissipated into nothing.
Later that month, Jimi played the London Astoria Club, and at the end of his set, lit his guitar on fire. He summoned the flames up with his fingers, as if drawing a primal spirit out of his instrument, and burned his hands when they got too close. At the hospital, Jeff Beck asked why he'd done it.
"Just freeing the smoke, man."
"You going to do it again?"
"Shit, yeah. Practice makes perfect."